Last month, I shared a bit of my journey with IBS.
When I talked with my doctor recently, she told me that sometimes you have to try different probiotics, because they often have different strains. It’s not one size fits all when it comes to probiotics, especially when it comes to the dietary management of serious gastro conditions.
So I was cautiously optimistic about starting VSL#3, and I wanted to share my 100% honest experience with it. It can be a bit pricey in comparison to other ones but I told Forrest that if it worked I’d be more than willing to foot that bill. Since it is a high-potency probiotic medical food that has been clinically proven to help with the management of IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, and ileal pouch, I figured it was worth a shot. When choosing a probiotic it is important to look for one that’s been backed by several studies, so do your research.
The instructions state that you can take anywhere from two to eight capusles a day, depending on your condition.
When I was about to start them, I recently a very difficult couple of days where I was doubled over in pain from my IBS. I was thinking that if this didn’t help, I would need to visit with my doctor again to come up with a new plan.
I decided to keep a journal documenting each day and how I felt so I could honestly look back and see if there was a change
For the first few days, I didn’t notice much of difference. About three days in, I looked in the mirror and was SO bloated. I felt like I looked like I was pregnant, and I also experienced a few other symptoms that I read are common when starting VSL#3.
I wasn’t so sure if I wanted to continue – I hate the feeling of being bloated! However, I wasn’t feeling as much pain as I did the days previous, so I didn’t give up.
As with most things, probiotics take time to work.
So for about a week and half I dutifully took VSL#3, and with each day, I felt a little better and a little less bloated.
About two weeks after I started taking them, I can honestly say I felt better than I’ve felt in years. Part of me was a bit worried about it being the placebo effect, however, I actually wasn’t even thinking about taking it. It just became a part of my routine, and one morning, I woke up and thought to myself, “Wait, I actually don’t feel miserable!”
It actually almost made me cry as I thought about how well it was working!
So if you are coming to this post to see if a high-potency probiotic medical food like VSL#3 works, well, it seemed to work for me.
I think VSL#3 is something that you continually need to take for the dietary management of IBS- at least for awhile – to reap the benefits. A study conducted with VSL#3 confirms that maximum bacterial colonization of the gut occurs within 20 days. It’s not really one of those things where you can just take it for a few weeks and think you are good to go. We had to leave town for the last week, and since VSL#3 needs to be refrigerated to maintain its potency, I couldn’t bring it with us. But I found out later it’s easy to transport in a cooler during travel.
Let me just say, after five days of not having my VSL#3 with me I am feeling the effects of IBS again like I used to, though not quite as severe. After daily intake is interrupted, the strains in VSL#3 will survive in the gut for up to three weeks.
I do think it will take time for the full-effects of this probiotic to make a more impactful effect on my digestive system, but my experience from the previous few weeks has me convinced it’s worth taking
VSL#3 is a high-potency probiotic medical food that is clinically proven in the dietary management of the serious digestive issues irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis (UC) and ileal pouch and must be used under medical supervision. If you experience symptoms of IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, or ileal pouch, you may want to talk to your doctor about trying it (it is recommended that adults get at least 1 billion CFU daily – VSL#3 has at least 112.5 billion CFU in each capsule). I am convinced that this is truly one of the best probiotics on the market. I used the capsules during the last month.
VSL#3 is available over the counter but it is kept refrigerated behind the pharmacy counter’s desk to maintain potency. VSL#3 is available in capsules and as an unflavored powder. You can also order it online.
If you’re looking for a probiotic, here are a few things to look for in a probiotic food:
- Look for the specific probiotic strains included – it’s not necessarily as important to have a large number of one kind of strain, but it is important to have at least three according to Dr. David Williams, a researcher, chiropractor, and biochemist.
- How many bacteria per serving – It is suggested that adults should take at least one billion cells (also called colony-forming units or CFU’s) daily – though more is better!
- How it is stored and packaged – I really recommend looking into the packaging – this can really affect how well the product works. You don’t want to take a probiotic that is essentially dead! Make sure the packaging protects the probiotic from being exposed to too much moisture and maintains potency.
- Expiration Date
I hope that you found my journey to be interesting and informative. I really look forward to continuing to take VSL#3, as it has worked far better than any other kind of probiotic I’ve taken for the dietary management of IBS, and I truly have felt relief from my IBS symptoms.
VSL#3® is a high-potency probiotic medical food that’s clinically proven in the dietary management of IBS, ulcerative colitis, and ileal pouch. To learn more visit www.vsl3.com and LIKE the brand on Facebook.
This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. All opinions, text and experiences are my own. VSL#3 is a high-potency probiotic medical food for the dietary management of IBS, UC and ileal pouch and must be used under medical supervision. Please speak with your healthcare provider for any specific questions. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.